MIDWAY: Unpredictable journey

It is not easy to travel in public vehicles because different people have different intentions of travelling. One has to be careful because the journey might not be pleasant every time. Especially for young girls, it is very troublesome to travel in public vehicles. Despite the jam-packed bus, the conductor never tires from calling more passengers.

I have to travel to Kathmandu from Dhulikhel twice a week. I recall an incident on a chilly Sunday morning. I went to the Bus Park to board a bus for Kathmandu. It was quarter to seven and I had to attend my class at nine. A middle-aged man sat next to me. As the bus started moving, the man asked me to open the window but I refused because it was very cold outside. After the bus covered a short distance, the man asked me the time even when he had his own watch. He folded his arms and came closer to me. I thought he felt uneasy due to the crowd. Initially, I ignored his overtures but suddenly he caught my elbow. His behaviour became unbearable. “Dai, would you mind shifting a bit,” I said. He moved a little but I often caught him staring at me. Whenever I came across a temple, I prayed to God to make my journey safe. Soon, the man again came closer with his folded arms. I asked him to move again.

Whenever I travel alone, I carry my handbag or some books. But unfortunately, that day I had nothing to protect myself or put between the seats. After sometime I found the man’s left arm on my shoulder. This time I lost my cool and shouted, “Dai, don’t you understand Nepali language? What’s your problem?” The other passengers also gave a harsh look at him but this did not have any affect on him. In fact, he was smiling as if he was devoid of any sense of shame.

Once again I came across a temple and prayed to God. This time the man asked me, “Why did you bow down three times?” I answered, “At first I prayed from my side, then from my husband’s and at last from my child’s side.” After hearing my answer, the man made an awful face and turned his head aside. He stopped looking at me. As soon as the bus reached Banepa, he even changed his seat. I think he took my every word seriously. From then onwards, I had a wonderful journey.